We booked a boat with Hook’em Up Charters to learn about, and try, deep sea fishing. On our boat, named the Hooked Up, we set sail into the Gulf of Mexico. Our captain welcomed us aboard with the promise that the fish would be plentiful, and our catch would be a surprise, as the Gulf contains over fifty different species of fish for us to catch. Hook’em Up Charters offers multiple types of fishing trips, such as the deep-sea fishing we tried, ranging from 4 hour trips to 18 hour trips depending on what type of fish you’re hungry for.

When we got to our fishing spot, the first thing we had to do was learn about some of our equipment. The ship’s First Mate explained to us the different types of bait we would be using. We used the clark spoon lure – a hard, artificial fishing lure that glitters and spins in the water – and a cigar minnow attached to a duster rig – a small, real fish tied to the glittering plastic rig, which looks like strands of tinsel. Both bait types convince bigger fish that our lures are small fish they’d want to eat, and when they decide to bite, we reel them in.

Once we were shown how to handle the fishing rods, we were ready to cast out our lines. We didn’t have to wait long before the fish began to bite. On our first try we caught three triggerfish, and though we were proud of our catch, they were off-season, and we released them back into the ocean. After catching a few more triggerfish, we finally got something new. Our catch of vermillion snapper and white snapper was good enough to eat, as both fish were in season.

After the hard work of reeling in our lunch, we headed back to shore to the Dockside Seafood and Oyster House so we could finally eat our snapper. We had ours pan-fried and prepared two ways, and in both we were delighted to taste some of the freshest fish we had ever eaten. It was a tasty meal made more satisfying by the fact that we had actually caught the fish ourselves. After a day like that, we knew we would be coming back for another deep-sea fishing trip in no time.

Helpful Tips and Facts:
The triggerfish we released are considered to be decently intelligent, and have the ability to learn from past experiences, which is rare among fish species.
The Dockside Seafood and Oyster House not only has delicious fish, fresh from the Gulf, but it also has nightly live entertainment.

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